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Marcus Freeman, Notre Dame Head Football Coach

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb
The Truth Network Radio
November 8, 2022 6:50 pm

Marcus Freeman, Notre Dame Head Football Coach

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb

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November 8, 2022 6:50 pm

Marcus Freeman joined Zach to discuss what the Clemson win means for the program and how the Irish were able to overcome adversity early in the season. 

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What makes your skin crawl? No matter how absurd, I want to know. Tails without fur on them?

Such as rats or opossums? I'm Larry Mullins, the host of a new podcast called Your Weirdest Fears. You send me your fear.

I'm just so weirded out about the texture and how they can just move around and flop. And then I go to the experts to learn how to overcome them. Listen and subscribe to Your Weirdest Fears on the Odyssey app or wherever you get your podcast from. What makes your skin crawl? No matter how absurd, I want to know. Tails without fur on them?

Such as rats or opossums? I'm Larry Mullins, the host of a new podcast called Your Weirdest Fears. You send me your fear.

I'm just so weirded out about the texture and how they can just move around and flop. And then I go to the experts to learn how to overcome them. Listen and subscribe to Your Weirdest Fears on the Odyssey app or wherever you get your podcast from. Coach, congratulations on the win. Appreciate the time. How are you? I'm doing great, Zach. Thanks for having me. Well, I appreciate you coming on.

I mean this in the most positive and polite way possible. I love maniacs and I thought there was nothing better from your victory than your special teams coordinator, Brian Mason flailing his arms, the headset falling off his face, after you guys had that six block punter this year. Oh, he might be the definition of maniac. I've known Coach Mason for a long time. We coached together at Kent State probably 10 or 11 years ago when I was a linebackers coach and he was the beep of the G.A. And to see his progression and his enhancement in terms of what he's done and to block five points in the last four games has been incredible. And they continue to find a way to get it done and he's done a great job. And clearly that's been a consistent unit for you guys. But going back to last year, I saw a tweet from Matt Zenitz that there was only two teams last year that had six block punts all throughout the nation. And he was one of the special teams coordinator, these special teams coordinator at Cincinnati, one of the two units that were able to do that. His consistency is really something.

Yeah, he's done a great job. And it starts with a belief in the scheme and belief in what we're doing. And it's not magic. It's not like we're tricking anybody, but it's the execution of what we're doing and the ability to beat the one on one blocks that you have to beat and to at the end of the day, get the job done.

And they keep doing it and doing it. There's usually never a perfect way to win. But for you guys, it felt like that was the way on Saturday night because you got really contributions from all three phases.

We talked about the block punt, you had two interceptions on defense and then your offense runs for over 250 plus yards. That's got to be a perfect win, right? Yeah, whenever you can, you can get the win. It's a perfect win. And listen, I didn't think going into the game, if you would have said exactly how the game was going to go, it would have been a victory.

But I don't know if that's how I drew it up. But it was a beautiful display of execution and belief in what the game plan was. And our offense really did a great job of controlling the tempo of the game. Coach Reese, our offensive coordinator and Drew Pine, our quarterback really ran that show. And defensively, to limit that offense to 90 yards rushing was a huge accomplishment. And then special teams, not only the block punts, but the ability to down a couple of punts inside the 10 and to really win the battlefield position.

It really was a three-phase execution. And it was really good to see. Notre Dame's head coach Marcus Freeman here with us on the Zach Gelb show.

We all know, Coach, how iconic the brand is of Notre Dame, the stadium as well. When you see that scene unfold afterwards with all the students rushing the field and all the fans coming to celebrate with you guys, what's going through your mind through all that craziness? And what was it just a state of euphoria for you guys? Well, they had said with probably about a minute left, one of the police officers that told me said, hey, I think they're going to rush the field. And he was like, just stay by me. And I wanted to enjoy it. We went and did the post-game interview.

And I could feel it kind of just caving in a little bit. And I remember telling the police officers, hey, let's just enjoy this. Let's go see the alma mater. And about 10 seconds later, I said, OK, I get it. We got to get out of here.

And so we found a way to get out of there. But man, what a moment. And something that I think in the moment, you don't appreciate as much as you do now.

But that will be a night that I'll never forget. What does that win mean for your program and year one for you? You know, I think it's just a belief in terms of what we're doing, a belief in who this new direction of Notre Dame football is about. And we got a really good football team that hasn't always played well.

And that comes from the top down. But the belief in terms of how good we can be should be there. And I hope that's what our players in this program get out of there is that, listen, we've got a long way to go. We're right in the middle of two mountains. But we're not the mountain that isn't good enough. And we're not the mountain that's the best team in the country.

We're right in the middle. And we need to keep our head down and continue to work. But where this place can go is still upwards.

And there's great places to continue to rise to. You said the new Notre Dame football. How do you define what you expect that to eventually be? You know, I hope it's a team that continues to reach its full potential. It has new leadership, right? Notre Dame football and the University of Notre Dame is special no matter who's at the top of the leadership. But, you know, with me being a new head coach, we had to really create a new foundation. And you can't just change head coaches and think you're going to pick up right where Coach Kelly left this program. Coach Kelly did an unbelievable job of building this place to where it needed to be.

And so I had to come in and really kind of do it my way. And that meant we had to take some losses and really kind of figure some things out. And it starts with me trying to figure out what exactly is it going to take for us to have success this year.

Every year it's going to change based off the talent and who you have in your program. But the foundation of being tough and the foundation of playing with extremely hard effort and really being a truly three-phase team is something that I believe in. And that's really going to take for us to reach our full potential.

Marcus Freeman here with us. We've been talking about your team overcoming adversity. Why did your group not succumb to the public pressure?

Everyone was writing you off after that martial loss and also the loss against Stanford. Well, I told them this road to where we want to go isn't going to be as smooth as we ever expected. And I don't think any great accomplishment is as smooth as you expected on the front end. And when we view, you know, when I think sometimes when you daydream of seeing a national championship or you daydream and see yourself making a lot of money one day, you don't really think about the pain and the suffering you have to go through.

And that's what I kept telling them. Like, we're on this bumpy road. And we have to continue to decrease the size of these bumps. We can't lose to a martial.

You can't lose to a Stanford. But there's never going to be perfection. And how do we decrease those small bumps is through very intentional hard work and having a sense of urgency to get these things fixed. And I told them, don't lose faith in what we're doing. But we have to fix this process.

Not just trust it, but fix it. And that's what has really happened from our coaches onto our players. The sense of urgency to correct our mistakes, to really be accountable for every action we have has really turned into some great results. Coach Marcus Freeman, nine games in to this season, your first year as a coach at Notre Dame being the head honcho, what have you learned about yourself? That every day you've got to learn. And that's what I've learned about myself, is that there's no book to leading a program, especially a program like this football program at Notre Dame.

But you know what? If you continue to stay grounded who you are and for me that's because of my parents, the hard work and really the selflessness to really put others in front of yourself, things will fall into place. But things don't happen just because you show up.

It's got to be intentional work and it's not easy. And so one thing I'll realize is it's not easy, but with great people around you and great, great players, great young men, we can accomplish some great things. Well, I did say that your special teams coordinator, Coach Mason, is a maniac. I would say that you're a machine because I saw your post-game press conference the other day, Coach. And you watch film right after the game.

You had to go back and watch the game against Clemson. Like, enjoy it a little bit. You know, taking the moment a little, Coach.

Come on, you can wait the next day. There's nothing more satisfying for me than to be able to get in my office and turn on a little film and be able to watch and correct those mistakes. Because that's how I sleep, right? Is I know that we've addressed the issues and I'm a guy of routine. And my routine is to right away come and watch the film. And that's what I did no matter if it's after a Stanford loss or after a Clemson win.

That's what I'm going to do. Would that be the same case if you win a national championship at Notre Dame? Would you be watching film that night or would you maybe then take it a day?

I might give it a couple hours, but I'm not going to sleep without watching that film. But I want to make sure I celebrate a little bit longer after a national championship. Coach Marcus Freeman here with us. When it comes to college football playoff expansion, where do you lie on that issue? You know, the more opportunities that we give teams, the better. And I'm always a proponent of giving the opportunity to more teams.

Now, how to do it and how to implement it, that's not my expertise. Jack Sworbuck, our athletic director, and those commissioners of the conferences, I'm sure the president still figured it out. But I'm always a proponent for more opportunities, for more teams to have a chance to win it. The only thing that concerns me a little bit is if it takes away from the importance of the regular season. Because these games really do mean everything. And that's the only thing that I don't want to take away and lessen the importance of the regular season.

I couldn't agree with you more. And I don't think it has to. Jack, I don't think that you, just because you expand the teams that make it into the playoffs, that it has to make the regular season less important. I don't think this isn't the NFL. And again, I don't want to discredit the NFL because every game I believe is important to them too. But I truly believe that with the teams that you're playing out of conference for certain teams that are in conferences, not like us. But the teams that you play out of conferences matter. Every game is going to matter, especially in Collegeville.

But I don't think they'll ever change. Do you feel like Notre Dame is going to be moving towards the direction of finally joining a conference full-time for football? I think as long as we don't put our football program at a disadvantage for not being in a conference, we'll stay independent. And that's where this program was created from, was being independent. And back many, many years ago, when we started football here at Notre Dame, we made money and we made our reputation off playing teams coast to coast, not in a conference, but really just trying to go and beat the best teams in the country.

And I think those values still are intact to this day. And so as long as we're not hurting our football program in terms of financially or making the college football playoffs, then I think our higher-ups will continue to stay independent. On the way out with Marcus Freeman, the head football coach at Notre Dame, off a big victory against Clemson.

I just want to hit you up in a few of your players. Benjamin Morrison with the two picks. So what a moment that was. Got to touch down as well for the freshmen. Yeah, he's special. Comes from an unbelievable family. And I got a chance to meet a sister who's a gymnast at Michigan. And he has another sister that was a gymnast in Washington. I don't think he's the best athlete in the family. His father was an NFL football player.

Mother really runs the show. What a great young man that works his tail off. And you know what I love about Ben Morris is that he might get a pass caught on him or get a penalty caught against him. And he's able to really just move on to the next play and never have his confidence shaken.

And you know what? I think at that position playing corner, you have to have that mentality. And that's what I think is really the most important part of your team. We've been talking about this all throughout this great conversation. You have guys that have overcome a lot of adversity just in this season.

And one of those guys is your quarterback in Drew Pine. What has he showed you? What has he proved to you this year, coach? You know, I think that the ability to not let praise and criticism truly affect the way you work.

You know? And as I tell him that, you know, praise can't make you and criticism can't break you. And you know, you have to be able to understand your job is to run the show on offense.

You cannot listen outside noise and really execute. And every day and every week look at yourself and say, how can I get better? And the consistency that he brings every day to our football program is a real reason for why he's been so successful. And the last thing I'll ask you, coach Marcus Freeman, we all know how great your tight end is in Michael Mayer. And there's really nothing probably new you could tell us about him. But let's say I was an NFL GM and I believe Michael's going to be making a lot of big plays on Sunday.

You saw the great run block the other night, then the touchdown catch as well. What would you tell an NFL GM if they asked you, why should I draft Michael Mayer with a big pick? Because he checks every box, you know, and that's the one thing about Michael Mayer is that, you know, I have a saying that God is fair. And with him, I don't know, he's got a couple extra boxes checked that some of us normal people don't have checked. And what an unbelievable, humble person, the best and hardest worker we have, an unbelievable football talent and a model citizen.

So he will check every box for any NFL program. Well, coach, really do appreciate the time. Congratulations on the win and good luck coming up against Navy. We thank you so much. Thanks. I appreciate you.

Download the Odyssey app today. Throughout the sixties and seventies, cops hunted down key figures of the Dixie Mafia, including its enigmatic ringleader, Kirksey Nix. I'm interested in making money. I'm not interested in hurting people. Fifteen years into Kirksey's life sentence, the Dixie Mafia was practically folklore, but that would soon change. I'm Jed Lipinski. This is Gone South, a documentary podcast from C-13 Originals, a Cadence 13 studio. Season two, the Dixie Mafia. Available now on the Odyssey app or wherever you get your podcasts. Download the Odyssey app today.
Whisper: small.en / 2022-11-09 11:19:39 / 2022-11-09 11:24:00 / 4

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